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Then Came the Dark Days of April

Abril lluvioso (explored #2 April 20/2010) Abril lluvioso by Julián Lozano

This has always been a funny time of year for me. Between spring break and the end of the semester, faculty get more stressed than ever and tend to walk around campus enveloped in clouds of gloom. Because I don’t teach, I’m a bit removed from the pressures that build up at the end of the school year — but because I work with faculty, I absorb plenty of it vicariously. Yet I also know that just around the corner is the year’s biggest mood-swing. Once final grades are turned in, the sense of relaxation is palpable. That may be my favorite time of year. The run-up? Not so much. If I had any sense I’d take a nice long vacation right in the middle of April. Maybe next year.

Speaking of the cycle of the academic year, I picked up a new responsibility last year and I’m doing it again this year, so it appears to be a new part of my annual routine. The University has started giving awards to faculty for service, scholarship, and teaching. My task is to produce a few seconds of video of each winner to be shown when the awards are presented during the commencement ceremony. There’s a very narrow window of opportunity between when the honorees are announced and the production deadline. But that’s fine. I am hustling around campus with my co-worker Jim T. to capture video in classrooms, offices, and laboratories. Jim shoots the video, and I do the editing, but I also tag along to help carry equipment; occasionally I give some direction to the shooting, but Jim generally knows all the angles. It’s actually kind of fun, and it’s good practice for me. I realize I haven’t done any video production since this time last year.

Also I am considering staging a mini-Beltane/Head Shaving/Grilling/Tom Collins/May Day celebration on Saturday. Anyone wanna come over?

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  1. AnnaAnastasia AnnaAnastasia

    Once final grades are turned in, the sense of relaxation is palpable. That may be my favorite time of year.

    Amen to that. It’s part of why I work on a college campus. I work my ass off advising and teaching throughout March and April, and when my head finally gets above water, it’s like paradise. The weather is good, my college town is quiet, and I can reflect on another year over and another year to come. It’s like a four-month retreat, and then I get a New Years Day in late August.

    Is is wrong to need this sort of yearly structure as an adult? I dunno, but I wouldn’t have it otherwise.

  2. AnnaAnastasia AnnaAnastasia

    …not to imply that the “retreat” is without its work, too. It’s a teeth-grinding misnomer to anyone in education that we get the summers “off.” Summer just means that I work more frequently in solitude, and my work is more preparation and less putting-out-of-fires.

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